Domestic Violence and Child Protection: Directions for Good Practice

By Cathy Humphreys; Nicky Stanley | Go to book overview

Chapter 5
Listen Louder
Working with Children and Young People

Claire Houghton


Introduction

Member of Scottish Parliament (MSP): You spoke about feeling more confident
once you got to know your child support worker. How did you feel before your
support worker came into your life?

'Mags' (age 14): I did not know what to do. I had no-one to talk to. All my
feelings just crammed up inside me, and sometimes they got the better of me. I
do not know what I would do if I did not have a support worker. (Scottish Parlia-
ment 2002a, col. 2433)

In November 2002, a young person with experience of domestic abuse and receiving support from Women's Aid broke new ground in representing children and young people experiencing domestic abuse in Scotland. She gave evidence at a Parliamentary Committee in support of a petition demanding more help and support, on behalf of children involved in the Listen Louder campaign, coordinated by Scottish Women's Aid. Over the next three years, the Scottish Parliament and Executive began not only to listen but to act on what was said by children and young people, acknowledging them as not only competent but as 'first class' (Scottish Parliament 2002a, col. 2431) witnesses about their own lives, and experts in relation to the services they needed.

The Listen Louder campaign utilised a unique body of skills and knowledge developed through decades of direct work with children surviving domestic abuse: it transposed, enhanced and developed this expertise to empower young people to have a say in service development and engage in the world of politics.

-82-

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